Matrix Management

Influence without authority

Influence without authority is a key skill in complex organisations. We are often trying to get things done through virtual teams where we do not have direct control over the people who work on them, or in a matrix where formal authority may be shared or missing.

Others of us may be trying to influence customers or people more senior than we. Still others may be trying to activate their network of peers to get things done.

It turns out that practicing influence without authority is a great thing for our development as leaders. Leaders who have formal authority often fall back on power and control to get things done, and this is unpopular and often less effective. People prefer to be influenced then to be told what to do.

When we need to influence without authority we tend to find a wider range of tools we can use to engage people and we also need to pay more attention to what’s in it for them and to what they value.

In training many thousands of people in the skills of influence without authority, we have learned that the techniques are actually very simple. It’s the application of those techniques that takes time and attention.

For the first time we’ve put together our influence without authority toolkit and made it available outside of our normal in-company programmes.

The programme is based around our five-step structure for influencing without authority. At each step you will see some practical tools delivered through short video and downloadable worksheets.

  1. defining your influencing goals
  2. identifying and analysing the network you need to achieve these goals
  3. prioritising and managing different groups of stakeholders
  4. understanding the world of the person you are trying to influence
  5. identifying your “currencies of influence” and the sources of power open to you

You can then put these steps and tools together into a comprehensive influencing strategy.

You don’t need to go into this level of detail for every little influencing task, but if you’ve got something important to achieve at work, it is worth spending the time to plan your influencing.

Step 4 is critical to influencing success, and the area where we must often see a gap. To influence someone successfully we must understand how we appear from their perspective and create value as perceived by them. Too often we are too far inside our own world, explaining what has value to us without understanding what’s in it for them.

If this is a skill you need to develop as an individual, you can take our fully online course. if you’re trying to develop this for your team or a group of people you can also book our live 90-minute bite sized influencing without authority web seminar, see details by clicking on the module in our interactive learning path.

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